“From a very young age MICHAEL ATTARD’s passion was watching fireworks and the closer he was to them, the better. Michael’s hobby to manufacture fireworks was handed down from one generation to the next, as both his grandfather and father were keen enthusiasts. Michael considers himself as being new to the pyrotechnic fields and his first experience of setting up flares will always be a treasured memory. For him to see his work, after all the sacrifices, commitment and dedication, is one of the most beautiful and satisfying feelings in the world.”
Without a shadow of a doubt, the most challenging time of the year is before the village
feast as he says that the month before always requires a great deal of work. As the feast gets closer, Michael ensures that what he has been working on throughout the year is ready on time.
Michael always lends a helping hand where needed, but his focus is mainly on flares,
especially the so called “games” and colourful ones. He continues to say that in this work there is no beginning or end. For him, the village feast of Żejtun will always be the one closest to his heart. Once this feast is over, he continues to work for other villages and begins to prepare for the coming year.
Michael always tries to come up with innovative work and this year, together with others,
participated and competed in the International Fireworks Festival. For him, even though it was a big challenge, it was a dream come true. Every year he tries to add something different from the previous years to the local feasts. This year, Michael will be introducing the element of colour in the flares and he is excited to see the result. Michael explains how the weather and humidity of the Maltese Islands can both hinder and help people who manufacture the fireworks. These elements work hand in hand in this field. In fact, if
there is less sunshine during the year, there would be a backlog of work. He said that in this line of work, you must adapt to weather conditions. For example, a warm sunny day will help the glue to settle faster so everything will dry up quicker. On the other hand, certain work cannot be done on a humid day.
Fireworks during feasts offer a spectacular show full of colours, however there are still people who criticise the noise they make and suggest that these should be manufactured without sound. Although Michael agrees that exaggeration is bad, he does not agree that one should eliminate sound from fireworks. He states that if noise is eliminated from the fire rockets, one is destroying the skill and traditional element, and those who admire them, know that these kinds of fireworks are only made in Malta.
Another element that is catching on the firework tradition is the so-called ‘records’, for example making the ‘largest firework tower’. Michael said that he does not really agree with them and he fears that if people start competing for records, the element of fun will be lost.
When asked if this craft has a future, he said that the number of people working in this field is growing, especially since a lot of young people are getting involved. He sees this as a positive thing and thinks that this hobby will continue to be passed on down from one generation to the next. Michael feels that we should be very proud of the pyrotechnics as there is no one in the world that produces fireworks as spectacular as ours.
© 2019 – VIDA Magazine